Post-Operative Rehabilitation

Post-operative ORIF (Fracture) rehabilitation

Musculoskeletal physiotherapy plays a critical role in the rehabilitation process following open reduction internal fixation (ORIF) for fracture surgeries. ORIF is a surgical procedure used to stabilize and align fractured bones using screws, plates, or other fixation devices. The objective of physiotherapy after ORIF is to promote healing, restore mobility, improve strength, and facilitate a safe return to functional activities. Here is an overview of the musculoskeletal physiotherapy interventions commonly employed during the post-ORIF phase:

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Pain and Swelling Management

Physiotherapists employ various techniques to manage pain and reduce swelling in the affected area. These may include the application of cold therapy, elevation of the limb, compression bandaging, and manual lymphatic drainage techniques. Pain management techniques like transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) may also be utilized to alleviate discomfort.

Range of Motion Exercises

To prevent joint stiffness and maintain joint mobility, physiotherapists prescribe range of motion exercises for the affected limb. These exercises may include passive range of motion exercises administered by the physiotherapist, as well as active and assisted range of motion exercises performed by the patient. Gradually, the range of motion exercises progress to more challenging movements, aiding in the restoration of flexibility and prevention of joint contractures.

Strengthening Exercises

Physiotherapists develop individualized strengthening programs to rebuild muscle strength around the affected joint or limb. Initially, gentle isometric exercises may be introduced to promote muscle activation without placing excessive stress on the healing fracture. As the healing progresses, resistance exercises using weights, resistance bands, or body weight can be incorporated to improve muscle strength and function.

Weight-Bearing and Balance Training

For fractures involving the lower extremities, physiotherapists guide patients through weight-bearing exercises and balance training as appropriate. These exercises help re-establish normal gait patterns, improve balance and proprioception, and restore functional activities such as walking and stair climbing.

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Functional Rehabilitation

As healing progresses, physiotherapists focus on functional rehabilitation, which involves training patients to perform activities specific to their daily life and occupation. This may include practicing movements and tasks that are essential for independent living, work-related activities, or sports-specific movements.

Scar Management and Tissue Mobilization

Physiotherapists employ scar management techniques such as scar massage to improve scar tissue flexibility and reduce adhesions. They may also utilize manual therapy techniques, including soft tissue mobilization and joint mobilization, to promote tissue healing, enhance joint mobility, and improve overall function.

Education and Home Exercise Program

Physiotherapists play a crucial role in educating patients about their fracture healing process, precautionary measures, and self-management techniques. They provide guidance on proper body mechanics, the use of assistive devices if necessary, and the importance of adhering to the prescribed rehabilitation program. Additionally, physiotherapists design a home exercise program for patients to continue their rehabilitation outside of clinic visits, ensuring consistent progress and optimal recovery.

Disclaimer: Throughout the rehabilitation process, physiotherapists closely monitor healing progress, adjust treatment plans as needed, and maintain communication with the surgical team. They also provide emotional support and motivation to patients, assisting them in staying focused and committed to their recovery journey.

By implementing these comprehensive physiotherapy interventions, patients who have undergone ORIF fracture surgeries can achieve improved healing, regain mobility and strength, and successfully return to their pre-injury level of function. The individualized approach of musculoskeletal physiotherapy ensures that the rehabilitation process is tailored to the specific needs and goals of each patient, promoting a successful recovery and a return to an active and functional lifestyle.

Frequently Asked Questions

When is ORIF surgery performed, and what is it?

ORIF is the abbreviation for Open Reduction Internal Fixation. It is a surgical procedure used to treat fractures by realigning and stabilizing shattered bones with internal fixation devices such as screws, plates, or rods. ORIF surgery is performed when conservative therapies, such as casting or splinting are ineffective in treating a fracture that is complex or unstable.

How long does the recovery period following ORIF surgery last?

Depending on the type of fracture, the extent of surgery, individual factors and the specific treatment, the duration of rehabilitation following ORIF surgery varies. Rehabilitation typically lasts between several weeks and several months.

What is the function of physical therapy in rehabilitation following ORIF surgery?

Physical therapy serves a crucial role in rehabilitation following ORIF surgery. It aims to restore joint range of motion, enhance muscle strength and flexibility, promote appropriate gait and movement patterns and promote the healing process.

What precautions should I take to ensure adequate healing during rehabilitation?

During rehabilitation, it is essential to closely adhere to your physical therapist’s instructions, to avoid placing excessive stress on the healing area and to adhere to any weight-bearing restrictions or activity limitations in order to promote proper healing.

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